Backed by SNAP, Residents Cry Foul on Crossway Lights at Village Board Meeting
- Thursday, 24 November 2022 11:25
- Last Updated: Thursday, 24 November 2022 17:34
- Published: Thursday, 24 November 2022 11:25
- Joanne Wallenstein
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A well organized group of Quaker Ridge residents renewed their campaign against a proposal to install lights at Crossway Field at a pre-Thanksgiving meeting of the Scarsdale Board of Trustees.
Mayor Veron opened the meeting by wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving and expressing gratitude to the board and staff who are committed to “making Scarsdale the best possible place to live.”
Discussing upcoming work, she said, “During this meeting, we will also discuss next steps for our two Special Assignments, the Mobility and Placemaking Study and the Pool Complex. Over the past several weeks, working groups and staff have gathered information to advance both projects. Most of the Mobility and Placemaking work resides now with staff as they are evaluating how best to operationalize pilots. On the pool side, subsequent to the community meeting earlier this fall, staff and the working group have been doing external research. The focus over the last six weeks has been to assess the availability of non-traditional sources of funding, such as public-private partnerships and to learn more about year-round pool operations.”
Kudos for Adamo
The Mayor read a proclamation honoring Thomas Adamo for leading the Scarsdale American Legion Post 52 for two decades and credited him with Memorial Day and Veterans Day celebrations and the Village’s Memorial Garden.
He said, “I loved doing what I did and for those who did it with me.” He mentioned the girl scouts and boy scouts and said he was thrilled to work with them. He thanked the Village Managers for working with the American Legion and thanked Mayor Veron for an honor “which I did not deserve for something that I loved to do.”
Residents Cry Foul
During Public Comments, many came to the mic to urge the Village Board to turn down a proposal from the Scarsdale Little League to install lights at Crossway Field for baseball games at night.
Sarah Bell, President of SNAP, read the following statement on behalf of the Presidents of Scarsdale’s Neighborhood Associations, urging the Board of Trustees to listen to the residents. She said, “"The Scarsdale Neighborhood Association Presidents ("SNAP") encourage the Mayor, Trustees and Village to give priority to the concerns of the neighbors who live adjacent to and would be directly impacted by installation of permanent lighting at Crossway Field. The overwhelming majority of neighbors who live adjacent to Crossway Field have determined that they would be adversely and directly impacted by the installation of lights and extended field use at Crossway Field. The Village places a priority on the Quality of Life of its residents which therefore requires the Village to give deference to the concerns of these neighbors and residents of Scarsdale.
Many others expressed their objections:
Lori Garfunkel of Lincoln Road said, “I object to proposed lights at Crossway Field.” She said, “The field is beautiful and enjoyed by many.” She objected to the height of the lights and the view of the “steel towers,” which she said will be visible for miles. “They would light the sky.” She continued, “We have an expectation of privacy at night. The question to ask is, is there really a shortage of fields?? She called for an independent review. She said, “Elsewhere they are placed on highways or next to industrial areas. Take a field trip to look at the towering poles. Little league guidelines are important measures. 80-foot poles are unsightly. Let’s keep Scarsdale’ tranquility, We can improve our fields but we do not need lights. We have the right to peaceful enjoyment of our property. No one bought a house next to Citi field or Yankee Stadium.”
Michael Potack of Harvest Drive said, “It is impossible to protect the cars from these balls…It is absurd to put this in a residential district – we want peace. I call this a foul ball.”
Michelle Castiello expressed her objections to lights. She said, “The field shortage is a problem that does not exist. Travel teams will not go away with or without lights. There is plenty of opportunity to play night games away. The towns that have these lights are in industrial areas
They will be a permanent eyesore 365 days a year. We need a study to see what the impact will be. No one who favors the lights thinks it is a good idea to place the lights in front of their homes.”
Erica German Harvest Drive said she has four children in school. She said, “I think it is so unsafe. Very dangerous in the dark. Even homes that are not around the field will be impacted by the lights.”
Dr. Jonathan Winn a cardiologist who lives on Franklin Road said, “I enjoy my backyard immensely. I love the view. I don’t want to see bright lights. I have lived here my whole life and its peaceful and quiet. I can’t see kids playing little league at 10 pm. It’s absurd. I don’t know anyone who lives there who is in favor of these lights.
Andrew Casden of Harvest Drive said, “In 1991 the county wanted to install a driving range with lights. We all opposed it, for the same reasons we are telling you tonight. What is good for the goose is good for the gander. If we install lights at Crossway – lets light up all of Scarsdale, the tennis courts, the pool and Brite Avenue. Let’s allow big neon lights in front of every storefront and break all the rules.”
Kaare Weber from 51 Crossway said, “I am deeply concerned about the proposal to light up Crossway. The prior Little League board was working with the Village to address many of the safety concerns. It was put on the back burner because of COVID. There is a major drainage problem at the field. I don’t believe there is a field shortage. On many days there are empty fields at prime times. People also park illegally on Crossway – which is dangerous. We only heard from the lighting company – not from an independent expert. I respectfully ask the board to reject this proposal.
Gerry Antell from Archer Lane said “I speak on behalf of 200 residents who reject this proposal. We are asked, why don’t we compromise? In 2005 we made a deal and allowed an upgrade of Crossway 3 in exchange for a promise of no night games on all of Crossway. SLL and the BOT and Mayor agreed to this. Many of the same neighbors are still here. Many of us knew about that negotiation. The agreement was followed and enforced. This time the little league has not backed down and the VB is considering a proposal despite the neighbor’s objections. We find ourselves fighting the same battle that we fought in 2005 – again. This is why the neighbors don’t trust the process. The lawyer said there was not good documentation of that compromise. The neighbors don’t want lights – we fought for this in 2005 and we negotiated a deal and now we are forced to fight again. Please listen to the neighbors and reject the lighting proposal.”
A Stratton Road resident said, “The proposal is wrong on many levels. There is a surplus of baseball fields in the village. The proposal contravenes safety standards. It irreversibly impacts the quality of life. We hear the noise in the summer in our backyards. To have this on many nights is highly objectionable. This proposal should be voted down.
Bob Harrison said, “We have to respect the privacy of our residents. They deserve peace and tranquility. I hope the Board will keep the quality of life for people who live in Quaker Ridge. He called for investing the funds in the unassigned fund balance to maximize the return. He said, “we now get between 2.25% and 2.5% on these funds and the marketplace is at 4.65% return on treasury bills.”
Myra Saul from 5 Lincoln Road spoke about the Crossway Lights. She said, “I don’t believe the lights will affect me personally, but I do believe any resident should speak out when they feel anyone will be adversely affected. This proposal strikes me as strange. To my knowledge the only lights are at the high school. Many residents can use these facilities. There have never been lights at Crossway and there should not be any now. All facilities close at dusk. The Little League facility was built with the expectation that games would only be played during the day. The Little League just wants to play at this one facility. It does not seem fair to saddle the neighborhood with this intrusive proposal.”
Brett Prescott of 7 Continental Road said, “I vehemently oppose this proposal. What data do you take into account? How do you eliminate bias? How do proposals from vendors make it this far – and what we can do to limit proposals that profit from the town in the future?”
Penny Kornstein, 15 Rural Drive said, “I have a clear view of where the lights would shine. I have sent emails to the Mayor and Trustees to express my disapproval of the lights. I have repeatedly seen people double parked on Crossway and Mamaroneck Roads, dropping off kids. I often see the fields empty. The idea that our fields are overused is ludicrous.”
Anne Hintermeister asked the Mayor for more details about the pool project moving forward. She wanted to know if three designs would be presented along with financial scenarios for a variety of plans? Has any design work been done?
Responding to residents the Mayor discussed the process for evaluating any proposed gifts from Village organizations. To Bob Harrison she said, “the Village is making careful decisions on investments based on the Village’s cash flow requirements.” And to Hintermeister, she explained the pool process moving forward.
Liaison Reports: Trustee Brew said that the library ran 76 programs reaching 3000 users in October and that civic groups held big events at the library. She encouraged residents to continue to check out the library website for library events.
Trustee Lewis who is the liaison to the Scarsdale Conservation Advisory Council and the Friends of the Scarsdale Parks thanked the CAC for making the village a leader in conservation. He said, “From the food scrap program to the new paint recycling program we are making a difference. In just the first weeks of its operation, the paint recycle program has processed over 4 tons of paint - a pretty incredible number. This old paint has now been recycled into new paint, and the cans have been recycled into new cans.”
He said, “I also toured a series of Scarsdale Parks including Hyatt Field, Harwood Park,and George Field, with Madelaine Eppenstein and Cynthia Roberts of the Friends of the Scarsdale Parks. The dedication of this team of volunteers is extraordinary, not only for their hard work, but for their vision. When you walk trails, see native plants and flowers, or are surprised by the beauty of butterflies attracted to the ecosystems of our parks, know that the Friends of Scarsdale Parks have played a role.”
He continued, “Our village is experiencing a construction boom - we all see it. Personally, I wish we had a stronger historic preservation code, and tougher rules on zoning and development. There are many viewpoints on this subject and its always a challenge to reconcile property rights with conservation and preservation. Yet, while we can debate some of these topics, there should be no debate about the importance of safety at our construction sites.”
“Developers make money by knocking down homes and building bigger ones. Yet, all too often we have seen the developers that profit off our community undermine the quality of life we experience through the noise they generate, the eyesore they create, and the traffic hazards they instigate. While there are developers who work responsibly in our town, there are also others who show a disregard for our quality of life, and community safety.”
“It’s the responsibility of developers who earn their living off our community to show respect for village ordinances and to ensure proper safeguards such as fencing is in place. Please reach out to the village professionals who are responsible for enforcement when you see a construction site that is of concern. They need our support, so let’s help them. I would encourage all residents who are concerned about development in our village to speak up, to write emails, and to let your voice be heard.”
Trustee Ahuja encouraged everyone to attend Light the Dale at Boniface Circle in Scarsdale Village on Friday December 2 with the Mayor, Santa, hot cocoa and food stations. Trustees approved a resolution to permit Westchester Reform Temple to place a menorah in Boniface Circle from December 2-5, 2022.
Trustees approved the subdivision fee for two lots at 29 Church Lane. The fee is 5% or $55,000 for the one new buildable lot. They voted unanimously to approve it.
They approved a public hearing on December 13 on a resolution to comply with fire code during construction.
Speed Limit Reduction
They adopted a code change to reduce the speed limit on Village streets from 30 mph to 25 mph excluding the Hutchinson River Parkway, the Bronx River Parkway, Post Road, Mamaroneck Road, Weaver Street, Palmer Avenue , Griffin Avenue and the Heathcote Bypass from Weaver Street to Secor Road. The move was approved unanimously.
The Board approved the following appointments to Village Boards and Councils.
Talaiya Safdar was appointed to serve on the Committee for Historic Preservation replacing Thomas Schroeter who resigned. She was formerly the alternate.
Marion Herman and Marcia Stern were appointed to the Advisory Council on Scarsdale Senior Citizens.
Vicki Tse was appointed to the conservation Advisory Council to fill the term of Seema Jaggi who resigned.